If you are a book lover, a voracious reader, and love talking about books, then you should check out Debra Owsley and her new game Lit-Versations. I have known Debra for years, and she has always been a dedicated reader, promoter, and lover of books; it makes perfect sense to me that of all people, she would be the one to create a wonderful game like Lit-Versations.
I talked with Debra about her love of books, her fave genres and authors and books, and about Lit-Versations. Check out the interview below!
Talking Books and LitVersations with Debra Owsley
I’ve known you for a long time, and since day one, I knew you to be a lover of books. Where did your love of books and reading come from?
Yes Shon, from MySpace days!!! I spent many hours in libraries. I wasn’t allowed to go to many people’s houses, so I went to the library. There I had friends and adventures and learned things that was not familiar, in books. I would DEVOUR them. I’d read fiction, nonfiction, craft books, anything that would cross my mind. I was very curious, so libraries sated my curiosity and my questions. My mom was also a huge reader of non-fiction and history.
What are your top three genres to read?
Fiction, Self-help, Biographies
Who are your top three authors?
Only 3? That’s like asking a mother of 12, who’s her favorite child! Donna Hill, Eric Jerome Dickey, Lolita Files, Bernice McFadden, and Lutishia Lovely are the authors I absolutely adore.
What is your most favorite book, and why?
My most favorite book is The Hand I Fan With by Tina McElroy Ansa. There is something about the way she told that story that really resonated with my soul. Everything in that story I could see, taste, and feel. Lena and Herman in my mind were real people. When I figured out what was going to happen in the story, I cried, slammed the book shut and just wept. I then started it all over ago so the story would never end. My tear stains are still on those pages. I never had a book affect me like that before.
You have a new, awesome, unique product out that is, not surprisingly, tied to your love of books: the game Lit-Versations. What was the initial spark that ignited the creation of Lit-Versations?
Lit-Versations©® The Book Conversation Game is a project I’ve worked VERY hard to bring to life for over two years. This idea came to me while listening to people discuss books and being interviewed asking the same questions over and over again. It was like the same questions, different book and same questions different author. I wanted meatier questions, questions that were open ended and led to a deeper conversation, a real Lit-Versation! So I created the questions I wanted to ask, 70 questions to get the Lit-Versation started!
What were some of the challenges (and rewards) that arose during Lit-Versations’ journey to creation?
I had so many challenges and tears creating this game. Two graphic designers, printers that made me say many, many bad words, picking reviewers I trusted not to let the cat out of the bag, getting samples made 4 times, deciding on the right questions, finding the right boxes, having them edited, (A million THANKS, Shon). It was a very stressful time and a lot of work. I’ve been told I’m a perfectionist and difficult, but I wanted what I saw in my head. I worked very hard to bring this project to life! The most rewarding things were when I was test marketing the game; people were as excited as I was! These where avid readers like me, authors, interviewers and bloggers. Once the first orders went out, I held my breath until the reviews came in from people who paid! That’s when I felt JOY like nothing else! I kinda felt like Sally Field… “They like me! They like my new baby.”
What are three reasons people should run, not walk, to purchase Lit-Versations?
There are way more than three reasons, Shon! Here are a few…
- These questions open up refreshing dialogue with new and interesting perspectives.
- A fun interactive ice breaker
- I wanted people to love book discussions without being bored.
- Helps others understand other interpretations of the story
- Promotes richer exchanges and inspires thought
- Great for authors to take along to gatherings
- Great gift for book lovers and book clubs
- Helps discussions stay on track and active
- Great for all ages
- This was created for book lovers, by a book lover.
Book clubs and reading groups, authors, teachers and parents, reviewers, bloggers, interviewers, and online chat facilitators can ALL benefit from and enjoy using Lit-Versations.
Any final comments?
Books can take you anywhere you want to be. Just do what feels right in your gut and in your soul. Do what makes your heart dance. Realize you’ve had the power all along. #SimplySaid
About Debra Owsley
Since December 2006, Debra Owsley has taken her love of reading along with her hobby and created the reading accessory business, Simply Said Reading Accessories.
Initially, the business was created to support her ravenous book habit! Debra never dreamed her two loves would turn into a marketing and promotional business that has allowed her to meet and work with authors she has read and admired for years. She also offers her work at book events and book festivals where she meets other avid readers and book club members.
Recently, she’s added a new project to her collection, a book conversation game named LitVersations. Debra says she created the game because “I got tired of the same questions and interactions.” In creating the game, she believes it allows “everyone to feel like they really comprehended the book and the author’s intentions. Also, to have more fun!”
Debra works with several major bestselling authors, bookstores, event planners, and industry professionals. Her “book candy” includes unique “gift-marks,” Kindle charms, book thongs, and many other special treasures for book lovers. She also creates whimsical displays for authors and other tools to promote literacy. Debra also coaches authors on how to promote and market their books on a budget.
Debra is a hairstylist and has been one for over 25 years. She loves to read, travel, blog, dance, and discuss books with friends over great food. She also has an in salon book club named Under The Dryer. She’s always sharing her latest reads with her clients and encouraging them to purchase books and support authors.